Lead Bank backs its retail clients by selling their products in KC branch

Lead Bank loves to talk about the importance of supporting local businesses, but the latest addition to its "Grow Home" campaign shows the bank is willing to go above and beyond to practice what it preaches.

Virtually every Kansas City-area bank will help small business clients secure a line of credit or network to meet people who can help their business grow. Lead Bank does that, too, but what separates it is that its bankers now will sell clients' products inside a branch.

Lead Bank teamed up with Kansas City retailer Terrasi Living & Scandia Home to sell the store's products as part of a pilot program. Marketing Director Melissa Beltrame said it was a natural extension of the Grow Home campaign, which selects local businesses to highlight on its website, social media, and digital advertising.

"Our bankers are actually selling the retailer's products, and all profits and proceeds go directly to the retailer," Beltrame said. "Our bankers took a store tour and got expertly trained on the retailer's products, so they could effectively sell the features and benefits."

Beltrame said Lead Bank's universal bankers, who are cross-trained to help clients with a variety of banking needs, already have sold several hundred dollars' worth of products at its Crossroads Arts District branch, 1801 Main St., since the program kicked off in October. Ursula Terrasi, owner of the store on the Country Club Plaza, was named as a director on the bank's board earlier this year.

The new program gives retailers exposure to new clients and offers coupons designed to entice people to go to visit the store and check out more products. For banking customers, it can be a convenience. For example, maybe they were looking for a gift and find it while they were running an errand at the bank.

So what does the bank get out of it?

"We've found it to be a great conversation starter," Beltrame said. "People see the display right when they walk in the door and ask what it is. So it's a perfect opportunity for us to talk about one of the great businesses in our community and for us to be genuine when we say we're here to serve small businesses in Kansas City. Our mission statement is to be at the heart of the success of our communities. We obviously can't do that alone. So we truly want to partner side-by-side with these businesses to literally shine a spotlight on them and what they've accomplished."

Beltrame said Lead Bank, which is based in Garden City, Mo., and also has a branch in Lee's Summit, plans to partner with one of its small business clients every quarter in 2018 to sell their products at the bank.